PANEER BHUNA MASALA
(This is spicy!)
½ pound paneer*
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
3 green chiles
2 dried red chiles
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
2 bay leaves
1″ cinnamon stick
½ tablespoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon Kashmiri red chili powder**
2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon chili powder
¾ teaspoon turmeric
½ cup water
2 teaspoons coriander
¾ teaspoon fenugreek leaves
¾ teaspoon garam masala
* = Can be found at Asian supermarkets or online. Substitute with feta, mozzarella, ricotta, queso blanco, or cottage cheese.
** = Can be found at Asian supermarkets or online. Substitute with an equal mixture of paprika and cayenne or with ancho chili powder.
Serves 4. Takes 1 hour.
Cut into paneer into ¾” cubes. Mince onions and tomatoes. Dice cilantro and green chiles. Crumble red chiles Add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, cumin seeds and mustard seeds to medium pan. Sauté at medium-high heat until seeds start to flutter, crackle, and pop. Stir enough to prevent burning. Add bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, ginger, Kashmiri red chili, green chile, and red chile. Reduce heat to low. Simmer at low heat for 2 minutes. Stir enough to prevent burning. Remove from heat.
Add 2 tablespoons ghee and onion to large pan. Sauté at medium-high for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Add tomato, chili powder, pepper, salt, turmeric, and seeds/garlic /ginger/seed mixture from medium pan to large pan. Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 5 minutes or until liquid thickens into gravy. Stir enough to prevent burning.
Add paneer cubes and water. Raise heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir enough to prevent burning. Add coriander, fenugreek leaves, and garam masala. Stir until well blended. Remove cinnamon stick and bay leaves.
Garnish with cilantro. Goes well with naan bread.
1) This vegetarian entree is so tasty.
2) But it wasn’t originally meant to be vegetarian.
3) Chef Ishaan Banerjee had planned to feature urban pea hens in his dish, Urban Pea Hen Masala.
4) Because they have a nutty flavor.
5) And taste like chickens.
6) But especially like pea hens.
7) Pea hens are called “pea hens” because they are quite round, like peas.
8) Or round like bowling balls.
9) Well-trained pea hens command a premium in the All India Pea Hen Bowling League (AIPHBL.)
10) Urban pea hens can fly up to 100 mph. Rural pea hens are slightly slower than urban cousins and less urbane as well.
11) Air forces the world round, are striving mightily to discover the pen hens’ secret. As of press time, their method remains an enigma.
12) The pea hen’s velocity enabled this poultry to escape Chef Banerjee’s proposed entree. No pea hens, no Pea Hen Masala, urban or rural.
13) Ishaan sought temporary respite from his woes through the manly pursuit of anagrams.
14) Yo ho! Chef Banerjee discovered that an anagram of Urban Pea Hen is “Paneer Bhuna.”
15) Why not substitute paneer for pea hens? He did. It tasted great.
16) Now Chef Ishaan Banerjee and his culinary masterpiece Panner Bhuna Masala are famous all over the world. Yay, for he is a rather nice guy.
– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.